Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fun With Scratchy Records Two

It's been a while since I have posted some old time scratched up relics from the past so I thought I'd share two examples of some of my overplayed and now retired grooves.  They got craters in them groove and one is cracked.

Don Hollinger-Cruel World (Atco 45-6492) 1967

Hardly anything shows up on the internet about  Delton (Don) Hollinger and so far nobody has put up this little funky R and B number, however the plug side  Until I Find You can be found on you tube.  I don't believe there's has been a stock copy of Atco 6492 only promo copies have been found from time to time and very pricey too on EBAY.  (further researched showed that somebody on EBAY had a stock copy of said song).  I'm not sure paying 40 dollars for a new copy warrants the situation to replace my old VG- G+ version, it still plays but I compare it to driving down a gravel road with bumps along the way.  Hollinger was a journeyman soul singer, he came from Georgia and had a much more grittier and growling vocal than Otis Redding or Bobby "blue" Bland. And since before the internet made things easier to research, and since there's not much about Hollinger and this forgotten soul classic, I'm guessing that the sessions sound like they came from Florida  at Criteria Studios, or perhaps a lesser known studio in Atlanta. You might call it a live in the studio recording with no overdubs.  It turned out to be the only single that he would record for Atco.  He would continue to write music for others and record off and on till his passing in 1991.  The best writeup comes from this site:

This single I got came from a Drive In on some promotion night in 1968, we were at an old now forgotten drive in in Waterloo and we won a batch of records, which I thought was a big deal but most of them were DJ promos of bands and artists nobody gave much thought about.  Somewhere in that stack of 45s, I recall most of them were blah, there was an Anita Bryant 45, Joe South And The Believers A Fool In Love and Cruel World/Until I Find You.  Being a 7 year old brat, these records were subjects of frisbee flying or trying to reproduce our own label.  Since they were black and white, why not take some magic markers and add color?  Didn't look so good on the other side of the 45 but Cruel World was left alone.   Had I known that trying to find a replacement copy would mean taking out a second mortgage on the house, I would have treated this record much more better.

And guess what. Cruel World is now on You Tube. Somebody remembered!

Bobby Brant-Piano Nellie  (East West 45-EW 124) 1958

The East West Story (1957-1958) simplified: 

Atlantic had three divisions of varying degree for their record roster.  Of course the big one was Atlantic, which at that time was for R and B and Doo Wop groups, Atco was more of a rock and roll label even back in the 1950s, that's where Bobby Darin started after being on Decca and of course later on Vanilla Fudge, Cream and Sonny And Cher would be on Atco. Which leaves us East West, better known as the one off label for also-rans or licensed from minor labels.  David Gates (Bread)  released Swinging Baby Doll (EW 123-1958) a rockabilly number that's like Bobby Darin with more a guitar sound, Charles Brown recorded When Did You Leave Heaven (EW 106 1957) in typical Brown fashion but the Dick Jacobs inspired arrangements date this badly.  Jay Holliday Wang Dang Doo (EW 102) is fairly tough rockabilly until the cornball vocal chorus derails the whole thing.  Al Henderson Ding Dong Dandy (EW 113) gives visions of something that Bobby Rydell would get away with, with higher chart placings.  The only artist that got any chart position in the East West era (circa 1957-58) would be the Kingsmen (part of Bill Haley and The Comets fame) and their number 35  Week End (EW 115) in 1958.  Their followup Cat Walk (EW 120) didn't chart.

The strange aura of East West can be attributed to the different types of oddball music, Daddy Lolo (oriental rock and roll) by Ganim's Asia Minors (EW 109) would have sounded out of place even on AM radio in 1957,  The Tracey Twins' out of tune Heartbreak Hill (EW 108) The Glowtones period piece doo wop The Girl I Love (EW 101) and some attempts to cash in on the teen beat also came up with minimal results (Tony Castle, Burt Taylor).  But by 1959 Atlantic closed up East West and it remained closed until 1990 when they restarted the label and it did have much more success with the likes of AC DC, Pantera and En Vogue on the roster.

Although The Kingsmen' Week End was perhaps the better known rocking song, the toughest rocking single came from Bobby Nelson Poe, aka The Poe Kat aka Bobby Blant. Recording for Jim Lowe's White Rock label, Piano Nellie got picked up for distribution via East West EW 124.  Brant's Rhythm Rockers actually was the first rock and roll band backing up Wanda Jackson (Let's Have A Party) and Piano Nellie features the piano work of Big Al Downing, one of rock's most unknown players but had a style all his own.  After this single, Poe would focus his energies on management, getting a number 33 hit with She's The One by The Chartbusters (Mutual 502).  Poe would also would think up of something called the Pop Music Survey which basically is survey and consulting radio stations on upcoming hit singles.  Something that would backfire years later with the overplayed format surveys that radio stations haven't changed in 3 decades. Poe passed away in 2011.

If you followed this blog (and some folks do), you will note the importance of Piano Nellie.  My copy has seen better days and eventually I did replace this record with a much more playable reissue of the White Rock single that I got overseas via EBAY.  There's a hairline crack on this record and sad to say a victim of a five year doing abuse to this record.   Since I have not seen any pictures of the East West 45 of Piano Nellie, I decided to offer the services of my reference copy.  This record was included in a box of ten singles that was bought for a dollar at either an old Wells store or K mart.  Again, most of the other records were as good and were used for frisbees and I can name some of other 45s from this batch.  Ben E King's Let The Water Run Down (Atco 6415) was another song that I played till the grooves wrote off, great Bo Diddley riff, that 45 got replaced from a trip to St. Louis,  Ray Agee  Open Up Your Heart/The Gamble (Shirley 123631), The Spectors Three I Know Why (3 Trey T-102) and The Drifters He's Just A Playboy (Atlantic 2253) were also part of this collection. There was a Carla Thomas Stax single in there too but I didn't much care for that one.  You may have noticed that most if not all of these labels were part of the Atlantic Records distribution which might explain why all of these were in these cheapo cheapo box sets that sold for two dollars at the local department store.  The version of The Gamble off you Tube sounds like my old record:

Nevertheless Piano Nellie is quintessential rockabilly with Downing's piano driving the beat.  Gives me visions of The Blasters and perhaps if the Blasters would have heard this with Gene Taylor  perhaps they might have taken a crack at this song.  I can see Phil Alvin singing to this.  Of course, had we taken care of our records better than what we did 50 years back we can still listen to them today rather than leaving them as ref copies.  It's better to get the White Rock reissue, cheaper to than the East West copies which sell for at least 50 to 90 dollars in VG shape or better. 

Come to think of it, this is Al Downing's baby.  Bobby Brant just adds a bit of singing to sweeten the pot. Plus the band cooks too.  This is rock and roll.

The original fun with scratchy records can be found over here at this link:  Updates is that I found links that actually do have The Train by Ray Charles and The Cabin Crew so you can actually hear the songs:

I noticed that these scans of my scratchy 45s were found on a 45 cat website.  If it's a way to keep these records alive, even after the grooves have been wore off and only serve as reference copies so be it. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Playlist: Shakin All Over

August is almost over, doesn't seem to be much of a summer.  We had big plans for everything, till a tornado and basement water changed all that.  I missed out on Hairball coming back here this weekend but next week is New Bo Arts festival, and I'll be spending Sunday down there (weather permitting of course).  If you're there Saturday Night you can catch 4 time Iowa Rock and Roll inductee Bob Dorr and the Blue Band from 7 to 9 or you can go into Parlor City and catch Mark Avery Band.

Sunday brings folk rock legend Jim Post and actor musician Ronny Cox at CSPS that night for 18 dollars.  Plus the usual starving artists displaying their arts and crafts and a couple street musicians.

This Thursday, Boston comes to town with Starship opening up.  Not going to be the same Boston since Brad Delp ended his life in 2007 but Tom Scholtz is keeping the band going.  In concert Tom is actually using a real drumset, not like the Casio ones he had on the last flop album.

So far this summer one 90 degree day was recorded and that was Sunday the fourth time in 20 years that we got one 90 degree day, 1993, 2004 and 2007 were the other years.  So much for global warming.

The VMAs were on Sunday Night.  Big news was Suge Knight getting shot at six times at a after party and hit about three times but he should survive that.  Meanwhile Nicki No Talent farts on stage and they call it a wardrobe malfunction.  On a related note, see The Blue Band with Bob Dorr this Saturday night at New Bo.

Passings: Ralph Morman lead singer on the first Joe Perry Project album Let The Music Do The Talking and later Savoy Brown's Rock And Roll Warriors of a long illness.  He was 65.  He had more of a Rod Stewart type of vocals rather than Steven Tyler's, it did provide a nice counterpoint to Perry's vocals on the first JPP album.  Morman would leave and go on to Savoy Brown for two undistinguished albums, one of them was Rock And Roll Warriors to which outside of Nobody's Perfect the rest of the album was ho hum.  Had a new band going till the drummer was snatched away by Ozzy Osbourne and Ralph disappeared into a regular life.

After 36 years, Neil Young is divorcing his wife Pegi.  I always thought that next to Paul and Linda that this would be the forever marriages but I guess nobody stays in love anymore.  Sad to see this.  Of course Pegi is seeking child support, I think Neil can afford it.

After two albums  The Royal Southern Brotherhood (even second tier all star bands tend to lose members) are losing a band member.  Mike Zito is returning back to full time duties to his band and production duties (he produced Samantha Fish's last album), but RSB is getting a major upgrade in Bart Walker replacing Zito. It's a good fit, Walker also records for Ruf Records and his last album Waiting On Daylight was one of the best albums of 2013.  They'll be fine.

Burning Man, the big shindig out in California was going on and basically it's hard to get a ticket to even get in.  But things were shaking a bit more out there, due to an 6.1 earthquake out in Napa Valley. Too much rain delayed things on Monday too. But it will still go on once things dry out and the roads are decent enough to drive on.  In the meantime, a return back to Davenport to pick up what's left of the big finds I came to find that most of the 45s were picked up by other bargain hunters, thank our lucky stars we made it out there last week.  I'll doubt that I'll ever get that lucky again finding dime records.  Outside of a few curios and pop ones nobody gives a shit about,  I did find four Cds at the pawnshop for three bucks, most notably Rolling Stones Some Girls for a whole quarter, replacing my ruin copy due to the floods of June.  CO OP Records closed up their Davenport location and now has the Moline one, which they're barely holding on.  Goodwill in Moline, moved further down the road, the old location is a Sears (big deal).  And FYE is a thing of the past at the Mall.

Quad Cities minor league baseball team might not be in the playoffs, so I figured one last game at the Stadium by the river would be a nice way to end the day.   Very sparse crowd for QC standards but they seem to have the CR Kernels number this year by hitting two HRs in a 3-2 come from behind victory.  The Kernels are backing their way into the playoffs, they're in, but The River Bandits have a 8-3 record this year and when I watch both teams are 4-1 in QC favor.  A J Reed hit the tying HR which, once again was hit in my area and I could have a baseball to take home, but let somebody else get it.  James Ramsey hit the winning HR over the foul pole. While CR starter Steven Gonsalves struck out 10 River Bandits, The Kernels stuck out a league record 18 times, including a very generous one to end the game, but the nadir was them leaving 14 Kernels on base.  Quad Cities is still 2  games behind Wisconsin in the playoffs with six games left to play, but they have won 5 of their last 6 games. Anything is possible.  As always, watching the game from the brim (i.e. left center wall) is fun but really could have done without the customary brat with a baseball given to him via the bullpen and saying "want my baseball? can't have it".  And wished his damn parents would have just used birth control 9 months before it being born.


Jimmy Smith-Standards (Blue Note)

With Kenny Burrell on guitar, these two duet through 12 sleepy jazz numbers that are perfect for driving home after a disappointing bargain hunt. Only time they kick it up a notch is on Bye Bye Blackbird. Not bad but the sameness of the songs and moods tend to put me asleep, even if I'm racing the 12:15 Union Pacific to get across the tracks before it passes on by.  I didn't make it.
Grade B

Ace Frehley-Space Invader (E One)

Something about the RnRHOF induction ceremony rubbed Ace the wrong way and determined to do something about it, Ace may have come up with his best album since the 1978 solo project that trumped the rest of the KISS guys album that year.  But the funny thing is how uncanny and how close Ace comes to sounding a lot like Gene Simmons down to the growl and goofy lyrics of such notables as Gimme A Feeling (radio edit) or What A Girl Wants or the title track itself.   But I think Ace succeeds in making a actual KISS like record but a KISS record had Ace wrote the songs and not Gene and Paul.  There's enough guitar riffs and leads that makes this a better record than the last KISS record.  Plus this does sound like this would have been the worthy followup of 35 years ago right down to the edits that fade out the song and not make it drone on forever.  Even at 54 minutes, Space Invader doesn't feel like a chore to listen through, even the instrumental Starship sounds just fine.  That said, Space Invader is rock and roll we remember quite well and even Ace throws a bit of New York Dolls for shits and giggles.  Nothing wrong with albums with mindless lyrics as long the music is shooting straight.  The last album KISS Sonic Boom whopped his ass.  This time out, Ace wins the showdown.
Grade B+

The Funk Brothers Live In Orlando 2005 (Eagle)

They powered the Motown hits back in the 60s and 70s before Barry Gordy decided to move it all to LA and leave his Detroit sound behind.  Standing In The Shadows Of Motown was a nice honor movie which got the remaining Funk Brothers alive to do a live show at Universal Theme Park in 2005.  And this CD comes across like a cheap tribute show, although Bob Babbitt, Uriel Jones and Eddie Willis is in fine form and the assorted musicians can do a good Motown groove.  Too bad they ended up with piss poor female singers that come across more like Whitney Houston than Gladys Knight or Diana Ross.  Whoever is screaming on Neither One Of Us like a American Idol reject makes this unlistenable but it could be either Donna Curtin or Marcia Ware.  And they both stink.  Delbert Nelson comes in for male singer relief but the whole thing comes off as something that would play at a casino or theme park.  Give the band an A for effort, but the divas get a F and the whole thing winds up as a C album, graded favorably for historic value. But if you want the real thing, Motown still has the Funk Brothers best of in print.  Go with that.


Good Thing-Fine Young Cannibals (The Raw & The Cooked)
Dirty Love-Divinyls (Temperamental)
California Gold-Dada (Dada)
The Joker-Ace Frehley (Space Invader)
Back Street Girl-Bobby Darin (Inside Out)
Teach Each Other-Twins (Tomboys On Parade)
Glass-Incubus (S.C.I.E.N.C.E)
Open Country Joy-Mahavishnu Orchestra (Birds Of Fire)
Respectable-The Rolling Stones (Some Girls)
High-Jimmy's Chicken Shack (Pushing The Salamania Envelope)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Singles Going Steady 18-The Best Record Finds Ever

When I first started doing the Singles Going Steady Series, it was to document some of the finds of that time.  50 years onward, I never get tired of searching for 45s, in this day and age they're a bit more scratchy and harder to find if you're looking for VG+ or better.  It helps when they have the record sleeve on, but even some records with sleeves on have looked like they been played to death.  Which is the intent don't you think?  I know my mom in her days would spend plenty of money for certain singles and perhaps that rubbed off on me.  One day I remember playing Medicine Man over and over and my mom said isn't there something else you want to listen to, you got all these records, won't you play something other than that song.  Which set the wheels in motion for me; I can't do hearing the same song twice or three times if I'm forced to listen to shit Corporate radio at work.  And I continue to find the obscure.

Most of the bargain hunts are hit and miss.  Sometimes I'll get lucky and find a batch of 45s, without sleeves but still in fairly good shape so I'll pick them up.  I'll listen to just about anything, and it shows, Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport by Pedophile Rolf Harris,  old folk singers and folk bands of the 60s, at that moment teen idols such as the good (Johnny Tillotson, Brian Hyland) and some not so great (Paul Anka, Ronnie Dove)  But I always like finding the obscure folks of the 60s and sometimes it pays off.  And I do hope to find a decent copy of Pinocchio And The Puppets' obscure Mercury single Fusion sometime soon.  That's Mercury single 72659 BTW.

This week I've been taking time off from work, so I thought a trip to Davenport would be nice to get away from it all.  Big cities seem to have better selections; I know Ragged Records have a quaint little 45 section, and I was drooling at the bit to get Frijid Pink-God Gave Me You/Drivin' Blues (Parrot 45-340) but I know Bob would quote at least 6 dollars for it, it's a mint DJ copy.  But since I bought a couple of albums there, I decided to keep the finances in check and see what the As Is store had in store.  The Salvation Army in Davenport/Moline has always had some choice 45s over the years and when I saw about a couple storage boxes full of records, I had some hope of finding something of value.  The clerk there, a nice middle age guy said he'd give me a good deal  ten cents a record.   And by golly he did.  Most of these 45s are from the 1964-1966 time period.

The 45s found this time out may just well be the best finds in a long time, maybe all time.  Although the records were sleeveless, the majority of them looked to be in very good shape, not perfect mind you since there were some surface scratches and fingerprints but none of the craters scratches that most records I've seen elsewhere.    Some of the scratches are wider than the Mississippi River itself, to which I had to pass on such scratched up chestnuts like Eight Days On The Road by Aretha Franklin or Born To Be Wild by Wilson Pickett.   And there some colored 45 vinyl by certain Columbia Records artists, there was a couple from Tony Bennett, Andy Williams had two or three and there was a Bob Dylan 45 red vinyl.....

Really!  I heard the rumors out there that Bob had a couple of them on red vinyl but never seen anything up till I laid my eyes on Subterranean Homesick Blues red vinyl promo (Columbia 4-43242). Worth 250 dollars, maybe more in mint condition, this copy I consider to be VG plus and even those sell for at least 100 dollars on EBAY on a good day.  Perhaps the donator didn't know what he had in the collection or maybe somebody was cleaning out a box of unwanted records but never in my life and time would I find something like this for ten cents at an As Is store.  First thing I did was of course, picked it up and then found a record sleeve to protect it from further scratches.  One time, somebody did have Corinna Corinna on 45 at a junk store but whoever had it didn't take any care of it, since it was cracked and the label faded off, not worthy of a reference copy.  But this 45 of SHB had no viable scratches and it plays nice.  That would be one of a few more finds.

The second newsworthy 45 is Buddy Holly of course.  Even in thrift stores it fairly easy to come across Oh Boy or That'll Be The Day (I found that one a few months back) but the later stuff that came out after Holly passed away is much trickier to acquire.  One record I had in the want list was Slippin And Slidin (Coral 62448) and I bid on a couple of them on EBAY only to get outbidded at the last minute.  I did a double take when I seen a promo copy of this song (B side What To Do) and this record looked nice despite naked without a sleeve.   One of a few things that Buddy recorded alone before he took on a ill fated trip to Iowa, it seems like The Fireballs were the ones that were doing the overdubbing in the studio.  Slippin' is the most blues sounding that Buddy Holly would ever do and there's spare accomplishment from The Fireballs.  Which is fine.  Nevertheless, the song didn't chart although I recall seeing this on a long forgotten 60s compilation.  What To Do (The Fireballs overdub single version) did make it to Buddy Holly Gold.

3.  Shake/A Change Is Gonna Come-Sam Cooke (RCA Victor 47-8486)  Another promo copy of value, I was more familiar with the Otis Redding live version years ago.  Of course radio don't play either Otis or Sam's version of Shake (they rather stick with the usual overplayed You Send Me, Twisting The Night Away).  B side is perhaps Sam's best song ever Change Is Going To Come to which Otis Redding covered as well too.  Shake topped out at number 7, Change went to number 31.  And oldies radio still won't play neither.  Grave injustice. Side note: not every 45 I found was worth taking home.  The CR Salvation Army had a 45 of Pete Klint Quintet's version of Shake (Mercury 72709) but the record had a crack in it.  Unplayable.

4.  Don't Let The Whole World Know/You're My Girl-The Everly Brothers (Warner Bros. 5600)  Phil and Don did write some dark stuff in their career,  Since You Broke My Heart is one of them, but perhaps this is one of my all time favorites from them, although I discovered this, not from the radio but from the 2 CD Anthology that Warner Brothers put out in the early 1990s.  By the mid 60s, the hits dried up, but that didn't mean that the boys weren't trying.  The British Invasion didn't help things either.  The first record with a major scratch, You're My Girl I won't be able to play much without changing the needle but Don't in fine shape.  And a better song.

5.  Love Is All I'm Asking-Sinx Mitchell (Hickory 45-1241)  This is where the lesser known take over.  Read your history and you'll come to find that Mitchell is actually Earl Sinks, the guy who replaced Buddy Holly in The Crickets, Earl is the guy singing on I Fought The Law, but he had a falling out with The Crickets and left.  Recorded for Dot, Warner Brothers and Hickory before changing his name to Earl Richards and having a journeyman career with singles for United Artists and his own Ace Of Hearts label.  Somewhat more pop sounding than The Crickets although Mitchell has the drummer doing the Peggy Sue beat. Not a bad idea but the song isn't that memorable.

6.  Strange I Know-The Marvellettes (Tamla T-54072)  No shortage of Motown singles found although a couple of them were so scratched up, I passed on.  The beloved Marvellettes to me were the best female singers to come from Motown, although none would capture Barry Gordy's fancy than Miss Diana Ross and The Supremes, which they got first class treatment.  One of the things that jump out at you on this 45 mix is how up front Benny Benjamin's snare drum is as he does his trademark rolls on a slower number that only made it up to number 49 on the charts in 1962.  This song would be part of the album The Marvelous Marvellettes which got released on CD in the 90s.  On the infamous circle world label, to which if you watch it spin enough on the record player can hypotise you if you're not careful.

7.  I Want You To Be My Boy-The Exciters (Roulette R-4591)  Arrangements that could have been stolen from Motown this forgotten little gem only managed to squeak in at number 98 before falling off the charts and sometimes that's the greatest injustice.  To have a catchy song not making a bigger impact on chart action.  They are  forever known for Tell Him, done for United Artists but this was a one off single for Roulette and produced by Hugo/Luigi, (Sam Cooke, Mexican Jumping Beans).  This three girl, one guy group has one of the finest power vocalist in Brenda Reid who would later married Herbert Rooney (later separated) and their son Mark, you would know by his producer's name of L A Reid.  The Exciters would move over to Bang  for a number 58 chart placement of Little Bit Of Soap. Further research showed another Roulette single There They Go (R-4632) produced by Bert Berns, that didn't chart either.  They later recorded for RCA (try to find their lost classic Caviar and Chitlins LP), Today Records and 20th Century Fox

8.  (Baby) You Don't Have To Tell Me-The Walker Brothers (Smash S-2068)  Interesting history of this band, they were American but moved over to England and was better received over there in the mid 60s.  Scott Engel (Walker) was a lot like Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, a flair of combining Phil Spector production and arrangements into over the top balladry that seemed to work well for the Righteous Brothers. They had their biggest hit with the number 13 The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore but this followup didn't even dent the top 100.  Somebody in Davenport must have liked this band, this is the second 45 that I have found from them down there, (the first My Ship Is Comin In).  John Walker passed away in 2011. Gary and Scott Walker continue to make albums and tour in their own solo way.

9.  Boys And Girls-Migil 5  (Hickory 45-1292)  If you were from the UK in the 60s and had any songs to sing or play you could get a record contract or have a label sign you up.  Basically from the UK and recorded for Pye over there (Mercury, Cameo  and Hickory licensed a couple of their singles, best known Mockingbird Hill, interesting for a ska beat done by white guys from Britain)  I'm guessing this was the plug side, which was better suited for BBC radio with the Brit pop sound here.  B side is interesting take of Your Cheatin' Heart, done by white guys doing Ray Charles' arrangements and comes up somewhat more blues than country.  A curio from the past.

10.  Shout (Part 1 and 2)-Joey Dee And The Starlighters (Roulette R-4416) The twisting craze did put out some crazy music back then and some of it was first rate butt shaking twist and shouting.  Joe Dee was trying to make money off this too, Peppermint Twist went all the way to number 1, this went to number 6 and usually copies of this and Peppermint Twist have been worn to the nubs. Although members of The Young Rascals would join the band, logical thinking that the lineup was David Brigati (brother to The Rascals' Eddie), Carlton Lattimore on organ, Sam Taylor on Guitar and Willie Davis on drums. Kind of a sloppy version to the Isley Brothers, it's amazing how high this did chart.  For fun and giggles, check out side 2 to which Roulette adds an extra fadeout 30 seconds into the song.  Somebody did a hack job on the editing.

And there we have it.  The best of the stack of 45s found at an as is store.  It was actually a good day for me.  Although the rest of the thrift stores had nothing special or the records were too far gone, the finds here prove to be one of the best bargain hunts ever.   Maybe next week I'll try to convince Bob Herrington to part some of those DJ promo 45 without me taking a second mortgage on the house.  And maybe try to a few more past histories of the forgotten 45s, to something we call Singles Going Steady here at Record World.

And God bless that Salvation Army cashier for giving me a wonderful deal too.  All pictures are from the Davenport finds.  Some pictures had to be replaced due to ongoing Google issues but all are from the R Smith Preservation Forty Five Society. 

BTW I did get Frijid Pink's God Gave Me You   Here tis, (From Ragged Records)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Playlist: A History Of Hit Records

Rick Parashar, producer to Pearl Jam's Ten, Zak Wylde's Pride And Glory and Sap from Alice In Chains passed away Friday, he was 60. His productions had kind of a more garage rock sound but he's forever linked to The Seattle Sound of the 90s.

When you're a internet record store sales owner trying to get rid of unwanted CDs and albums, there are days that you're not going to sell squat.  I'm basically very vocal and hands on when it comes to feedback ratings when I get them.  Like any business, they buy something, and you find ways to get the sold cd out to them with little hassle as possible. And you strive for a five star rating, but in this day and age it's impossible.  There's always going to be one person that will email you every fucking day to ask if you sold it off yet, or they want tracking and then they give you a bad rating.  Meet today's perfect rating buster Paulita  Hagadone of Valatie New York who may have gave me the dumbest feedback comment ever. "
I believe he posted my order as shipped before, he reallyshipped my order!

Typos are in place, draw your own conclusion.   All this for a eight dollar CD that I wished somebody else would have brought.  Some people you can't please even though you did your best and kept up to date with e mails to and from and for the effort a neutral rating.  Probably been better just to refund her money and tell her to go give somebody else a shitty rating and piss off.  But that's life, for every 10 ratings of excellent, there's always going to be one neutral or bad rating.  Yep, I reallyshipped your order, you didn't think I would Lorena Paulita?!.  Look in your mailbox for another CD,  Metal Machine Music and plastic poo.
I'm surprised she didn't leave a funny comment like "he shipped me a jewel case as broke as me"  To which I would have made a special trip to Valatie New York with a unbroken Rubber jewel case and a 2X4.

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The days are getting shorter as the summer that never was winds up and for the most part I enjoyed the July and most of August dry days rather than the drown in rains we were subjected in March thru June. What's also coming is football season as well.  A fun preseason game was Minnesota overtaking Arizona on a last second TD play from future Viking superstar QB Teddy Bridgewater to a Rodney Smith who's trying his best to make the team.  After Arizona took the lead on a fourth down fumbled play, Bridgewater took the Vikings down the field, with a couple key catches by Smith as well.   There was been a few Rod Smiths that made it to the NFL but this is the first Rodney Smith that I know of.  But if nothing else he gets mentioned here in a music/record collecting blog.

There's a new radio station in town. 95.7 which originally was based out of Anamosa, then changed addresses to Cedar Rapids had ditched the FOX news right wing shit in favor of...Today's Hits!  They are the new Y95.7 which will be going after the folks from Z102.9 and 107.1.  Hit radio=same old shit.


Passings: Billy Rath, bass player for Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers died Sunday after a long illness he was 66.  He replaced Richard Hell and went off into ill fated album LAMF and UK Tour in the 70s and dropped out of music in exchange for real life, became a minister of sorts but did partake in Heartbreakers reunions from time to time...Don Pardo, longtime voice over for Saturday Night Live died of natural causes at age 96.  Wouldn't we like to live another 43 years eh?  Don't see that happening anytime soon. 

The Coralville bargain hunts I found a couple things in the dollar bins and some of them can be found in the playlist. (Willis Alan Ramsey, High Noon, Stevie Nicks, Divinyls Hall And Oates) and of course the usual sit downs at the Mexican place and having some kid scream his head off during the whole time there.  It never ends dealing with this, or at the Thrift stores to which Romper Room kids are running up and down playing with the toys and their stupid parents looking on indifferently.


The Empty Hearts (429/Savoy 2014)

A minor power pop supergroup featuring a Romantic, A Cars, A Chesterfield Kings and an Blondie get together to make a very good album of power pop rock.  Wally Palmer (The Romantics) sings on the majority of them, although I think that's Elliot Easton (Cars) singing on the more Stoney's numbers.  Clem Burke (Blondie) continues to go all over his drums like a Keith Moon.  Andy Babluk (Chesterfield Kings) holds down the bass.  And to further the 80s sound Ed Stasium (Ramones, Smithereens) produced and recorded it himself.  Like today's Power pop bands (The Strypes, Len Price 3) I never get tired of the three chords and the truth that The Empty Hearts puts out.  I can relate to it a helluva lot better than say, The Gaslight Anthem, whose trying to become the next U2 or whoever passes for "real rock".  To me  this is the real rock and The Empty Hearts deliver it.  You can sing along to No Way Out or I Don't Want Your Love If You Don't Want Mine or even the aforementioned Stones vibe of I Found You Again.  It helps when Ian Mclagan  (Small Faces) adds B3 to the mix.  In an era of Corporate Stale Rock and shitty outdated playlists, it's too bad you can't hear this on the radio, if it was 1980 you would.  With a collective expertise of each guy bringing to this band from their previous band, the end results might be more polished but the spirit of real rock and roll is heard on this album.  If nothing else this is in regular rotation on my station.

Grade A-

Stevie Nicks-Trouble In Shangri La  (Reprise 2001)

Oh we loved her in Fleetwood Mac during the 70s heyday, she was the mystical sex symbol nobody ever get close to.  Her solo career is erratic at best and even Crystal Visions, an improvement over the Atlantic/Modern best managed to combine her best (Silver Springs) over live bombast (Edge Of 17) but there were a couple tracks from Trouble that were quite fine on the best of.  Trouble In Shangri La was best known for Stevie hanging with Sheryl Crow and John Shanks and despite the odds made perhaps her best since Bella Donna.  Three strong songs really set the mood of the album and one thing that I know is that I like hearing Stevie rock a little more than the ballads that sunk her last album In Your Dreams. Of course Trouble would have benefited better with less songs and less producers, although the weakest cut remains It's Only Love and bonus cut, Love Is (done with Sarah McLaghlan's in tow with her producer Pierre Marchand). However I do give Sheryl Crow credit for keeping a low profile as well as fallen Dixie Chick Natalie Maines playing it straight on Too Far From Texas, with a couple of Heartbreakers sitting in and Sheryl playing bass to boot.  But before Love Is, Stevie rocks out a couple more times ending it with Fall From Grace which would have a been a perfect ending to this album.  But you know them mystics always gotta throw in one more love song before it's over and done for that happy ending.  I donno, I prefer Siliver Springs myself but give kudos to Miss Crow and John Shanks to make it all worthwhile.   That is saying something.

Grade B+

Willis Alan Ramsey (Shelter/The Right Stuff 1972)

Many consider this to be his finest album to the point that Willis has never followed it up, 40 plus years after the debut.  Gentility, his second album,  he's still putting the finishing touches on and there's a 2015 release date penciled in. But like every other time since 2009 has been pushed back due to some issues, in his case a flood going through the place he was recorded at in Loveland in 2013 that got hit big time.  And he hasn't updated much since then.  Nevertheless he made one album for Shelter full of songs that have been covered time and time again by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Widespread Panic and The Bellamy Brothers although their version of Satin Sheets is not as pointed as the original version, leaving out the mescaline reference in the second chorus.  A who's who of musicians are on his album (Leon Russell, Russ Kunkel a couple) and Denny Cordell's spare no expense production (with Al Schmitt (Jefferson Airplane) recording it) shows that Shelter Records was willing to promote this.  Ramsey is a very good story teller songwriter and those who covered his songs showed good taste.  That said, to me the album is a bit laid too back for me and like another songwriter in this vein (John Hartford Aero Plain) the kudos tends to overshadow the whole album, it gets too laid back to the point I almost fall asleep listening to this.  And it would be easy to dock the whole thing a notch simply of The Captain and Tennile's cutesy pie rendition of Muskrat Love (America did a slightly better version), this is where the original wins out hands down.  Rocking out is optional, in fact the only time they kick it up a notch is Northeast Texas Women, but I think they should have just faded it out and not come back to thirty seconds of dinking around.  Don't hold your breath about Gentility coming out but Willis has cemented his legend with his first album.  A warts and all acoustic classic upon itself at times and at certain songs.  Praise the Lord and pass the mescaline indeed.

Grade B

Playlist: (Albums in (   )  )

Live It Up-Crosby, Stills & Nash (Live It Up)
Satin Sheets-Willis Alan Ramsey (Willis Alan Ramsey)
Your Phone's Off The Hook But You're Not-X (Live In Los Angeles)
My Ex Is Why-High Noon (Live In Texas And Japan)
Windows-Anders Osborne (Peace)
(I See) No Way Out-The Empty Hearts (The Empty Hearts)
Come And Get Your Love-Swinging Steaks (Sunday Best)
The Present Tense-Geddy Lee (My Favorite Headache)
The Whatchamacallit-The Burning Emotion (ABC Single 45-11178)
I Know How To Lose You-John Hiatt 

Forgotten Song Of The Month:
Please Please Me-The Boll Weevils (Hit Record No 107)

Back in the 60s there was a budget label that would re record the hits of that time and they would put them out on either The Hit Label or Country And Western Hits and would sell them cheaper than the 99 cents of the major hits at the local Woolworth's.  Hit Records were 39 cents retail prices although you could find them for a dime or less.  This little gem comes from the little known Boll Weevils, who were in charge or covering the Beatles.  Please Please Me, while nothing special, is a nice little garage rock number.  The B Side My Bonnie is more corny.  You can hear that via 45 Cat.

If you read this far, there's a website dedicated to the works of the obscure artists that used to record the cover versions for Hit Records of Nashville.  I had a copy of Paint It Black from the Jalopy Five, for which being a knockoff label, they put some sweat and effort into this. The singer for the Five was Bobby Russell who had a 1971 hit with Saturday Morning Confusion.  Sandy Posey, singer for Born A Woman sang under different names for Hit.  The fun of the internet, keeping alive obscure labels and although a Hit or C W Hits might be laughable to the ignorant, it's  really no different than a Motley Crue covering Smoking In The Boy's Room or Great White doing Ian Hunter's Once Bitten Twice Shy.  Or Dean Martin doing Gentle On My Mind.  Cover songs have been a part of music history for years.  Jack White's Ballad Of Ira Hayes is where I heard it first before Johnny Cash's and the behind the scenes Nashville musicians did it almost perfect note for note.  The Hit record tribute page is a labor of love check it out:

P.S. I actually found an album of Hit Records of cover songs of 1963.  One of main engineers and recorders of these sessions was Billy Sherrill, who we all know was staff producer for Epic Records and was George Jones' favorite producer.  Alas, the shape of the vinyl was that it was played a few many times and was scratched up.  But I'm sure that the songs, while paled next to the original hit versions were most of the time, not bad covers.

PPS Since it means hardly nothing anymore.  I compiled the top five all time worst Girlfriends that I have ever had in my life.  Most are now grandmas and perhaps great grandmas but back then the ones that I chose to be my special girlfriends basically left me in the dust.  My ex girlfriend wondered  who the hell changed me to the point that I would be the worst boyfriend in her life.  It's strange I can remember my grade school girlfriends better than actual friends, from Donna Hess in Waterloo to Michelle in Nevada and who could forget Leah Norton in Webster City.  Even moving to Marion I did managed to have a few grade school girls that I'd walk home from school.  Cheryl Barker was one of them and we were pretty tight back then, we played basketball and I swore some day I'd be the star quarterback to take the team to the championships but when I did go out for football, I ended up going on the D squad and quit, to which she quit me.  Even in reunions you'd never noticed that we were once close.  Once we got to junior high I still wasn't that interested in dating.  But in 1975, the worst year of life, I'd met the one girl who would distort and disappoint me, Jeanette R who lived up in Michigan and it was a summertime crush.  Somehow me and her got a little too familiar and as we decided to descend onto a  tent in her yard, fate intervened and it poured rain to the point that we ran into the house instead.  Which I think God played a role.  But we promised each other to be true till we saw each other the next year and that would be the last time I'd see her ever.  She ended up getting married and having 3 kids at age 18.  The worst girlfriend I ever had.

Number 2 was Janice, the girl in my American Studies class and somehow her and her friends made my Sophmore year a living hell.  I think she did have a crush on me, one day on a dare she sat on my lap. At times she made things worthwhile but I still saving myself to Jeanette and finally succumbed to a desire that Janice wanted to dance with me on some song.  Colour My World it was, at that time I guess she was for the taking but appently I didn't ask her right and she made a big scene in front of everybody.  I ended up dancing with her friend Sue instead.  Janice and I never did get the same page, and with Jeanette not coming back it was a hit and miss affair, both of us missing a chance to date.  She gave up on me after I graduated and hated me from then on out.  Looking back upon my failures of relationships and not doing much dating except a couple times with my best friend's sister, I never really did develop much dating skills.  I could count on one hand how many dates I had in the 80s and early 90s before finally having something that lasted more than a week.  If I died tomorrow, I look at Jeanette and Janice as the main failures and perhaps destined to be a loner the rest of my life, despite the efforts of a couple nice girls who did their best to let me know there's more women out there that would want me for who I am.  In hindsight, it's too bad that I gave myself totality to Jeanette; If I knew that she would not be a part of this life after the summer of 1976, that Janice would have gotten my attention and perhaps this life would be a different story.  But that's all it is, a pipe dream of what if?

Number 3 and 4 were Gemini women, great for people under my birth sign but for me, Gemini women were the worst, split personality.  Number 3 was quite nice and giving the first time we met but on the second time I saw her, she completely changed, and I finally gave up and took her home after the ill fated get together in Spokane, only to come home and having her tell the world I left her for another.  To which I'm still looking for that one I left her for.  I didn't date for six years, I was that disgusted.  Number 4, I thought we had a good time till I came across her at a bar with another guy and she ran and hid in the bathroom.  Nice way to show your appreciation, I basically wrote her a note and stuck it on her car window telling her to grow the fuck up.  And number 5 was stripper from Denver who gave me her phone number, and I spent most of my time leaving a message and never having her call back.  Strippers make lousy girlfriends but I was very naive, even at age 30.  I'd been happy to spend a hour having dinner with her but when she sneaked out the backdoor to go to Burger King with another, I was wasting my time.  As with Janice, Jeanette and Isabella too.

Life is like that.  I spend the majority of time buying and listening to records and not being very sociable.  Being shy and an introvert.  I don't forsee any changes, being middle age and being too old and not a very good step father either.  I just never learn even though I had chances.  But it's too late anyway.  I'll never be a grandfather or even father, but rest assured I got a pretty damn good record collection.

And so it goes.